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Palatka is a city in Northeast Florida, located approximately 60 miles south of Jacksonville and 30 miles southwest of St Augustine. 'Palatka' is a contraction of an Indian word meaning 'cow crossing'.
As early as 1655, the Spanish were developing Palatka into the state's principal ranching area to feed the settlers particularly in the St. Augustine. Palatka became the main fording point for the cattle to cross the St Johns River on their way to the slaughterhouse.
When Florida was transferred to the United States in 1821, development of central Florida increased dramatically. Palatka was the southernmost point in the river where large oceangoing vessels could venture.